Eagles (+2) over COWBOYS: Around the holidays, Vic and all the Little V's like to cover all the bases (placing our Luminarias on the street, lighting the Hanukkah candles, decorating the Christmas tree) and we're gonna have to do same with the Eagles this week. Although it is impossible to fully get inside players' heads, you have to figure on at least a little better effort if there is something for Andy and the guys to play for. They manhandled the Dallases at the Linc so easily earlier, their confidence will be high, even in Big D. If the Jets have won the Battle of New York to keep the Birds alive, we are behind them big time - almost best-bet big time. If the Giants have finally erased the Birds' playoff hopes, we'll go much lighter.
RAVENS (-12) over Browns: Baltimore is crazy-good at home, winning 17 of the last 18 (a .944 winning percentage). What's better than .944? How about 1.000? The Ravens are riding a gorgeous 11-0 streak coming off a loss. This team just does not lose two in a row. So, we know that Baltimore is gonna win, so the only question that remains is by how much. The last time these two met, it was in Cleveland, and the Ravens rolled to a rather easy 24-10 victory. It should be even easier this time around. They have won seven in a row against the Browns, and Cleveland is riding an 0-6 streak on the road. If Baltimore were just going through the motions, we probably would back off this pick. But Ray Lewis and the boys have a shot at the AFC North title and a bye in the first week of the playoffs, so they ain't gonna back off, which makes this my Best Bet.
CHIEFS (-2) over Raiders: Romeo Crennel is doing his thing in Kansas City. The Chiefs were as giddy as school kids playing for him in that stunning, 19-14 victory over the unbeaten Packers. And crazy as it sounds, they still have a shot at the AFC West title. What else? The last time they met, KC bageled the Raiders, 28-0.
PANTHERS (-7) over Buccaneers: Cam Newton will go down as having the best season ever for a rookie quarterback. With 3,722 yards, Newton is only 17 yards away from passing Peyton Manning for most passing yards by a rookie. He also broke Steve Grogan's single-season NFL record by a QB for most rushing TDs (13), which was set in 1976. Carolina whipped the Bucs at Tampa back in November (38-19), and will steamroll to another huge W in their last home game of the season.
TITANS (-7) over Jaguars: Jacksonville won, 41-14, 2 weeks ago. The Jaguars lost, 41-14, last week. Not sure what the odds are on another 41-14 final, but the odds on Jax winning this game simply do not exist.
Falcons (+7) over SAINTS: This one is all about past performance. The last four times these two NFC South rivals have hooked up, the final margin in each game has been three points. Exactly three points. Atlanta has found a way at least to limit Drew Brees and New Orleans (allowing 26, 17, 24 and 26), while most teams are giving up 30 to 40 points. Like the history here, and like this game to end by yet another field goal.
Giants (+3) over JETS: The NFC New Yorkers fell terribly flat against Washington Sunday, coming off a huge win against Dallas, and an almost vs. Green Bay. There's no flat here with the city rivalry on the line, as well as a playoff spot.
BILLS (+3) over Broncos: Tim "Mile High Messiah" Tebow is coming down close to sea level in Buffalo and could have trouble.
Cardinals (+4) over BENGALS: Arizona has covered six of the last eight, while Cincy hasn't covered a game (0-4-2) since early November.
Dolphins (+10) over PATRIOTS: Money matters, and Miami is paying off at an 88 percent clip (seven of the last eight), so we'll swim with the Fish.
Vikings (+6) over REDSKINS: Washington has covered only two of the last 11 as a favorite, which is why we're buying that doggie in the purple.
STEELERS (-14) over Rams: Possibly without Big Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) and with a double-digit spread, we must stay very light here.
Chargers (+2) over LIONS: San Diego has now won a staggering 21 of the last 22 in the final four games of the season.
49ers (-2) over SEAHAWKS: After a big win over Pittsburgh, the 'Niners might ease off the throttle, so this is another light play.